For the second straight year, a foreign-bred horse made a winning North American debut for trainer Chad Brown in the Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy, with 18-1 shot Olympico surging to a three-length win on the soft inner turf on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Olympico, one of three Brown-conditioned entrants, entered with four wins and six second-place finishes in 19 starts in his native France before being shipped to the United States. The 4-year-old Rajsaman gelding stayed at the back of the eight-horse field as Dr. Edgar led through an opening quarter-mile in 24.84 seconds and the half in 50.09.
Under jockey Kendrick Carmouche, Olympico saved ground on the backstretch before being asked to move entering the final turn. In the stretch, Carmouche piloted his charge between horses, with Olympico overtaking stablemate and 3-5 favorite Robert Bruce on the outside before outkicking Dr. Edgar, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.92.
Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stable and Bethlehem Stables, Olympico won in his first start for his new connections and earned a winner's circle trip in his first race since defeating allowance company on November 11 in France.
“With the horse making his first start in America, I knew he was probably going to break good or break bad,” said Carmouche, who picked up his third win on the day. “It was one of the two and he broke bad, but I never got in a rush when that happened. I was relaxed.”
Olympico returned $39.20 on a $2 win bet and improved his career bankroll to $222,374.
“The turf course is real soft and he loved it,” Carmouche added. “I knew at the half-mile pole the race was over. I just had to find a spot to win. He had plenty of run and I have to thank Chad Brown and Michael Dubb for giving me the opportunity.”
Brown won the Fort Marcy for a second straight year, following the Chilean-bred Robert Bruce's victory in his first North American start. He improved to 2-for-2 in stakes action on the Belmont card after Santa Monica won the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay in Race 4.
Dr. Edgar, the Barclay Tagg-trainee who won his graded stakes debut with the Grade 3 Appleton on March 29 at Gulfstream Park, edged out Cullum Road by a nose for second.
“He's a hard-fighting horse and any battle that comes up he gives it a 110 percent,” said Dr. Edgar jockey Dylan Davis. “The favorite [Robert Bruce] went by me but he dug right back in down the lane. I thought I was going to get it, but a late closer came and got him. I thought he ran his 'A' game today.”
Rounding out the field is Channel Cat, Robert Bruce, Doctor Mounty, Maraud and the Brown-trained Arrocha.
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